DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY
History 398 - Spring 2003
Technologies and Their Societies: Historical Perspectives
Third Essay - Final Exercise
Write an essay of about 2000 words on ONE of the following questions. Your answer should reflect your knowledge of the readings and lectures through the choice of appropriate examples to document and illustrate your argument. The essay is due by 3:00 PM, 19 May, in your preceptor's box in the History Office, 129 Dickinson Hall. Extensions may be granted only by an appropriate Dean or Director of Studies. Be sure you sign the correct pledge as given below. Your signature affixed to this pledge attests that you have read and understand the provisions set forth in Academic Integrity at Princeton.
In "Do Artifacts Have Politics?", Langdon Winner proposes several models of the ways in which technologies shape or reflect the politics of their societies. How do those models help to analyze the politics of the automobile in Helen and Robert Lynds's Middletown and the politics of the Internet in Lawrence Lessig's Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace? Be sure to use specific examples taken from both books.
|Drawing widely from the lectures and readings in this course, write a
history to accompany this photograph of a woman at work designing
fabric on a computer at the Kalkstein Silk Mills in Paterson, NJ, in
N.B. A satisfactory answer to this question involves much more than the computer.
(click on picture to enlarge)
During the period covered by the first half of this course, "information" played little if any role in either the primary or the secondary sources. By the end of the course, "information" had become a concept, a technology, indeed a commodity of modern consumer society. Using specific examples from lectures, readings, and precept discussions, discuss how that happened. What light does Lawrence Lessig shed on the question in Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace?
"This paper represents my own work in accordance with University regulations."